By Reg Jones
December 10th, 2013 | Creditable service: FERS Disability retirement discontinued service retirement EMPLOYMENT FERS annuity computation management-directed reassignment Minimum retirement age RETIREMENT separation
Q. I retired on FERS disability in 2009 at the age of 46 with 17 years of service. I applied for FERS and went on various leave until approved. When I was approved, my position was eliminated from the agency within my state. I had been given a direct reassignment, which I declined due to the nature of the duties (similar to what I was disabling on) and the distance for transfer (130 miles away). Plus, the position had additional duties of driving for two hours daily — a duty I could not do (This was known for years within the agency). My separation papers reflected my original position as the disabling position, not the reassignment.
I went through one medical questionnaire two years ago, and I am now getting ready for the second one. The difference now is that I have a new doctor who has not yet been involved in such a questionnaire. I assume all will get well because nothing has changed, and he is aware of my conditions.
1. If for this reason, I am removed from FERS disability, what are my options concerning retirement: discontinued, involuntary separation or nothing? I am age 50 but with the 17 years of service, can I convert to any other type of retirement, or must I wait until my minimum retirement age of 56?
2. If my doctor is not supportive and I submit the form without physician comments, what happens then?
Q. I am a Postal Service employee in maintenance as an electrical technician. I have 23 years of service at age 56. Our office is going through an accelerated plant closing. I received a letter of involuntary reassignment (no date given) in May. There are no ET jobs within 50 miles of our office (limit on excessing under American Postal Workers Union contract). Under the contract, I can be forced into a lower-level job, (window clerk, city carrier, custodian) up to 50 miles away with saved grade and retreat rights. Can I qualify for a discontinued service retirement? If not, what do I need to qualify? I would like to retire without penalty. Otherwise, I need to work until I am age 60. Are there any other options I don’t know about?
Q. I am a FERS employee. I am 57 with 26 years of service.
1. Do I get annuity computation for sick leave? If so, how is it computed?
2. I was born in 1956. What is my minimum retirement age, and how much service should I have under the MRA?
3. What happens with my annual and sick leave when I retire?
4. When should I start preparing my paperwork for my retirement?
5. My agency is going through a reorganization. We have the options for early retirement, buyout, being reassigned to New York or Boston (I live in D.C.), or leave the agency. Would the above actions make me eligible for the discontinued service retirement? Would I be penalized for every year I’m under 62?
December 5th, 2013 | annuity reduction Coverage after retirement discontinued service retirement EMPLOYMENT FEHBP HEALTH INSURANCE MRA + 10 PAY Postal Service Postponed retirement Re-enrollment RETIREMENT Special retirement supplement
Q. I have been told by the Office of Personnel Management that if I postpone my retirement until age 60, I would be penalized for every year I am under 62 and will not be eligible for the special retirement supplement.
I am 59½ with more than 28 years in the Postal Service. Our facility is consolidating, and our jobs are at stake. I am a clerk and do not want a carrier position because of my health. I plan on retiring in February to reach my 60th birthday. If I don’t accept a carrier position, can I:
1. Take an involuntary discontinued retirement; or
2. Retire and postpone my annuity until 60
I want to receive the special retirement supplement and no penalty on annuity.
December 4th, 2013 | Creditable service: FERS discontinued service retirement DOWNSIZING FERS annuity computation Minimum retirement age Reductions in force RETIREMENT Special retirement supplement VERA
Q. I am a FERS employee. If my command is offering a Voluntary Early Retirement Authority and I retire at the any age and 25 years of service (I am 47 years old and have more than 25 years of service):
1. Will I get my special retirement supplement along with my retirement pay? Or will I not be entitled to the supplement?
2. If my command has a reduction in force instead, will I be able to get my severance pay plus voluntary retirement with my retirement plus the supplement until my MRA?
Q. I am a level 13 postmaster who will receive a reduction-in-force notice in June 2014. My position as EAS 13 Postmaster will be demoted to an EP-55 Part-time Career employee. My plans were to take the RIF in June and leave in September 2014.
I am 51 years old and have been a federal employee since 1983. I was counting on leaving under the discontinued service retirement in June. However, now that they have offered this Voluntary Early Retirement Authority even though it offers no incentive, should I take the “safe” out now or wait until the RIF next June? (I am aware that I will take a 2 percent-per-year reduction for each year I retire under the age of 55.)
Q. I am a civil servant with 25½ years in under FERS. My position requires that I maintain a security clearance as a condition of employment. Unfortunately, due to personal reasons, I may lose my clearance and subsequently be forced into “early retirement.” I am 48 years old. Will I be able to maintain my Federal Employees Health Benefits and special retirement supplement (when I turn 57) since I have 25 years in, if I am forced into early retirement?
Q. I work for the Defense Department with 16 years of service. If the rumored next round of Voluntary Early Retirement Authority/Voluntary Separation Incentive Pay occurs (and I should be 57 by then), can I take the VSIP, not pull my FERS retirement contributions and apply for the discontinued service retirement at 62? If yes, does my sick leave still count for calculating the retirement amount? Is giving up the DSR a requirement for VSIP?
Q. I am 47 years old with 20 years in the Postal Service and am planning on separating soon. Will I be eligible to keep with my current insurance? How/where do I find how much more my premium will be? Will I get my 400+ hours of annual leave in a lump sum? How long does that take to process? (I can stay employed longer if the lump sum would still be applied to this year’s income for tax purposes.) Would I be eligible for any pension at age 59½? Would my seven months of unused sick leave count toward it?
Q. I work for the Postal Service with 29 years as of Aug. 4, and 10½ with civil service for the Navy. I am 59 years old, a postmaster EAS-11 office which is on the downsize or closure list. I do not want to transfer or have to drive 50 miles to another office. If I am forced to retire under discontinued service retirement, does my insurance that I already have continue?
Q. I am receiving a FERS disability retirement. I have 23 years of service (not counting time on disability) and will turn 50 in the coming months. I was on agency rolls until the award of my disability retirement, and then my agency separated me from service. If my disability annuity is terminated by the Office of Personnel Management, would I be considered involuntarily separated from federal service for purposes of qualifying for discontinued service retirement?
Q. I retired on disability in November 2011 with 23 years of federal service at age 47. If, at some point in the future, the Office of Personnel Management terminates my disability benefits, would I be eligible for discontinued service retirement? I would meet the age and service requirements (age 50, 20+ years). I did not resign before my disability application was approved, remaining on agency rolls until the effective date of my disability retirement. There were no misconduct or failure to perform issues.
If not eligible for DSR, would I be eligible to receive my regular retirement at my minimum retirement age (56), or would I have to wait until age 62? Would I get the special retirement supplement?
Q. 1. During the reduction in force in 1993, I resigned and received incentive pay. I am now CSRS Offset at age 52 with 26 years of service. If Voluntary Early Retirement Authority is offered, will I be eligible for incentive pay to retire early?
2. What if my job is abolished? I have been told that if my job is abolished, I could receive severance pay equal to one year of my salary. Is this correct?
Q. I received a notice of directed reassignment outside my commuting area and must respond indicating my intention to accept or decline the reassignment. I’ve been advised that I am eligible for a discontinued service retirement without an age penalty but also believe that an early-out/buyout will be offered by my organization within the next few months. I’m prepared to accept the reassignment to wait and see if an early-out/buyout is offered. I want to make sure that I would remain able to later decline the reassignment and still take the discontinued service retirement if the early out/buyout isn’t approved before I’m required to report to the new duty station. If I accept the reassignment, would I still be able to change my mind and take a discontinued service retirement if there is no early-out/buyout offer?
Q. Our organization is going through a transfer of function and half of our staff is being relocated to a new office outside the commuting area. Management is first asking for volunteers and, if staffing levels are not reached through that process, they will begin going down the list of our staff based on service computation date reassign employees to the new office.
According to the agreement reached by the employees union and management, the volunteer window is open for 45 days. An employee may rescind their request for voluntary reassignment prior to the close of the window without penalty. However, if an employee volunteers to be reassigned, then rescinds their request after the close of the 45-day window, that employee gives up their position (seniority) on the list and management may invoke its right to involuntarily reassign that employee, without regard to that employee’s SCD.
I am 46 years old with 26 years of service. I had planned on leaving service in the next three or four years prior to all of this happening, knowing I will not be eligible for retirement. I am 17th on the list of 22 employees to be reassigned to the new location, so that’s not likely to happen. However, if I volunteer to be reassigned to the new office then rescind my request to volunteer after the close of the window, is there anything that would preclude me from taking a discontinued service retirement?
Q. I am 44 years old with 26 years of service and have verified I qualify for discontinued service retirement. Half of our staff (12 employees) is being reassigned — first asking for volunteers, then management-directed reassignment to reach the required staffing level.
I read on the Office of Personnel Management website that if an agency undergoes a “transfer of function,” the head of your agency can ask the OPM to permit early optional retirement for eligible employees. This is confusing because I have also read that once a written MDR has been received, I can simply attach that reassignment paperwork to my retirement application and opt for a discontinued service retirement. Does my agency (Department of Energy) need special authority from OPM to allow me a DSR?
Q. Our agency just received notice that Voluntary Early Retirement Authority has been extended to the end of July. I was proceeding under discontinued service retirement since I have been told that, due to a lack of funding for fiscal 2014, I am being involuntarily separated from the agency in October.
I have read the Office of Personnel Management’s Chapter 44 thoroughly regarding DSR, and the other info for VERA. I know the requirements are the same: 50 years old and 20 years service, which I have. The difference is DSR (involuntarily separated with no offer of other job) and VERA (reorganization).
1) Do you agree as stated in Chapter 44, DSR is applicable when let go due to lack of funds to pay for the position? I know the agency has to give you notice of separation and certification saying no other position is available. The agency says it is not going to abolish the position, but it does not have money to pay for it this fiscal year. I guess it hopes the money situation will get better somewhere down the line. It is my understanding that lack of funds qualifies for DSR. Do you agree?
2) Do you agree the benefits are the same for DSR and VERA? Do you know of any benefit of one over the other? The only difference I know of is if a person plans to return to federal service, which I do not.
3) It seems to me that the DSR is a much simpler process, instead of asking for authority to grant VERA from OPM based on a reorganization plan. With DSR, the agency gives me a letter saying due to lack of funds it is letting me go. Then it files the notice of personnel action of termination. Then it files a certification saying no other position has been or will be offered. Then file retirement application. Do you agree?
Q. The Postal Service has sent me a letter stating advance notice of my being reassigned because of reorganization, transfer of operation. If I am offered a position outside of 50 miles of duty station, would I qualify for discontinued service retirement? The Office of Personnel Management states DSR rules on commuting as 50 miles. If it’s over 50 miles, could I retire under a DSR and receive an unreduced annuity and the special retirement supplement? Would I have to wait until I got my separation papers, or could I put in for retirement once I got my reduction-in-force notice? I have over 25 years under FERS and am eight months shy of age 60. They have not offered a position yet.
Q. I am losing my job effective Sept. 30 because the agency I work for is closing the field office I work in. I am a FERS employee and will have 27 years and three months of federal service. My age at closure will be 57. I will be placed in discontinued service retirement status. I have been informed that I will be receiving a FERS supplement even though I have less than 30 years of service. If and when I find another federal job, what happens to my FERS supplement? Also, if I lose that job for any reason, will the FERS supplement be reinstated (even if I still have less than 30 years of service)?
Q. I’m in FERS and being reassigned. I will have 35 years in on Oct. 5 and have six months of sick leave that I’d like full credit for which I know isn’t until January. I will be eligible for discontinued service retirement as the job they offer is out of my area. I want to retire, not move to the new job. I will turn 59 on Sept. 30. If I go to the new job and retire Jan. 11 to get sick leave credit, will I lose the DSR and have the reduction due to being under 62? They give me 30 days to decide and am supposed to be at my new job by Sept. 9. Is there any room for negotiation to leave me at my present job until January or grant me full sick leave credit since it’s a redirection?